Ivan's book is finally here, and there's a new character named Akuti Tejaswini Jyoti ghem Estif Arqua, or Tej for short. I don't think I even want to attempt that mouthful of a full name, but I need a mental-voice pronunciation for Tej, and I can't seem to come up with a satisfactory one.

  • My main problem is that tej is the Hungarian word for milk, pronounced /tey/ with e as in bet and y as in yellow. So while this is the pronunciation I keep trying to use, it just Doesn't WorkTM for the character in question. (Really. She is nothing like milk.)

  • There's an Indian name Tej (possibly short for Tejas) which is pronounced /tage/ (rhymes with page) - but it's a masculine name, not a feminine one.

  • Tejaswini itself is also Indian, and feminine, but the first syllable is pronounced with e as in bet, and tedge-rhymes-with-edge just doesn't sound good on its own.

Is there any Word of God on this subject? Failing that, does anyone have the audiobook?

3 Answers 3


The author says the name a few times in this reading. On the first occasion it almost rhymes with "edge" (/'tedʒ/). On the second occasion it's closer to /'teʒ/

I've also isolated a couple of examples from the audiobook

Here and here


OK, Word of God has been acquired (thank you, Chester County Book Company [and Baen, of course]): Lois pronounces "Tej" as /tehzh/, with /eh/ as in bet and /zh/ like the s in measure.

Now, granted, this is from the same person who pronounces "Enrique" as /en-ree-kee/, so we're not talking authentic native pronunciation or anything. But it's good enough for my mental voice.

  • 2
    It may help to elaborate on what the source of the info is. Nov 17, 2012 at 3:28
  • @DVK: uh, hello, "Word of God"? Lois McMaster Bujold was signing books at a local bookstore, and I asked her point-blank how to pronounce Ivan's lady's name.
    – Martha
    Nov 17, 2012 at 3:58
  • @Martha I think the issue is more, we don't have proof you didn't just make it up...
    – Izkata
    Nov 17, 2012 at 6:35
  • 2
    @Izkata Then go to a book signing!
    – Mr Lister
    Nov 17, 2012 at 7:10
  • 2
    Given that Tej's father picked her names from books, it makes sense that he wouldn't know how to pronounce them in a historically authentic way.
    – user56
    May 18, 2014 at 22:02

Tej means 'brightness' or 'illumination'. It is generally used to describe the aura or illumination that surrounds enlightened, intellectual beings. Tejas means the one who has Tej and is a male name. Tejaswini is a female name with the same meaning as that of Tejas.

Help with pronunciation - You're right. Tej rhymes with page but the pronunciation of T is not a 'hard' one as it is in case of 'Tiger'. The pronunciation of Tej's T doesnt come deeply from the throat, as it would in case of tiger..

PS: I'm an Indian.

  • I'm confused: how on earth would you go about pronouncing a /t/ "deeply from the throat"? Seems anatomically impossible, like you'd have to swallow your tongue first. That aside: do Indians use Tej as a short form of Tejaswini? If yes, is it pronounced the same way as the masculine name? How hard is the 'g' - is it sorta-soft like in jam or more like the 'dg' in edge? And beyond all that, do we know how Bujold intended the name to be pronounced? I mean, we're talking 30th century Barrayar, not 21st century India.
    – Martha
    Nov 9, 2012 at 20:25
  • 1
    Yes. 'Tej' would be an acceptable short form of Tejaswini. The 'g' would be soft like in jam. The 't' would sound something like 'th' in path or sith.
    – Bharat B
    Dec 10, 2012 at 5:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.